Yesterday, practitioners from across the sector met to discuss key issues in homelessness for refugees in Glasgow.

There has been a rise in Glasgow in the number of homeless applications from people with refugee status. 14.7% of live homeless applications in Glasgow are from newly granted refugees who are systematically made homeless.

Families are now the largest single group accessing Scottish Refugee Council’s Integration Service, with single people comprising 39.9% of new cases compared to 69.5% in the previous year. Families with children make up 58.85% of the people Scottish Refugee Council saw from April 2018 to September 2018.

Refugee are most at risk of homelessness during the 28 day ‘move-on period’ that follows a successful claim for refugee protection. Scottish Refugee Council works intensively to support people during this critical time and continues to within New Scots Strategy to establish practical steps for early interventions for refugees, and support refugees to suitable housing. This includes a need for strong partnership working between the Home Office, the Asylum housing provider, Scottish Refugee Council, GCC Homelessness services and housing support providers. There was a consensus throughout all discussions that there were opportunities to improve current policy and practice to support refugees move into settled housing.

Practitioners had wider discussions around the role housing plays in integration. Housing is a fundamental element of the integration planning process; Scottish Refugee Council integration advisors work with new refugees to develop personal integration plans that reflect this.

On the day, practitioners and senior staff identified key actions to work for those supporting refugees going through the homelessness process. Representatives from housing associations such as New Gorbals, Southside and River Clyde Homes and GHA spoke about refugee issues alongside homelessness caseworkers, support providers from Loretto and Turning Point and SRC staff.

Key issues were identified across discussions, and the various stakeholders will take these issues forward.

Jim Kearns Service Manager for Homelessness (Glasgow City Council) said;

“Homelessness Caseworkers, Support Providers (Loretto and Turning Point) and Housing Association staff are key to getting positive outcomes for refugees. We will work to ensure that an offer of housing is as rapid as possible, and look to make sure that our default is an offer of settled accommodation first.”

Elodie Mignard, programme Manager at Scottish Refugee Council said:

“We were delighted to have practitioners from across the housing sector involved in planning homelessness prevention for newly recognised refugees. They added a valuable contribution to seeking solutions that work for refugees and practitioners”.

Chris Pettigrew
Author: Chris Pettigrew